Mission and History

Our Mission

The mission of the Geauga Lyric Theater Guild is to provide arts education to people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities and to help build a vibrant community through educational programs and performances that promote creative expression and civic engagement.

The Geauga Lyric Theater Guild is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

Our History

  • 1952: A small group of Chardon citizens, under the leadership of teacher William Allman, formed the Chardon Summer Theatre Group.
  • 1954: The Geauga Lyric Theater Guild was formed, and as a part of that organization, The Pioneer Players presented their first production The Mikado.
  • 1955: The first of many charitable community functions were initiated, beginning with a fundraising effort for Geauga Hospital.
  • 1964: The Guild Players were formed by R. William Vail to add plays to their selection of spring and fall musical events.
  • 1973: William Vail and family wrote an original script to celebrate the 175th anniversary of Burton, Ohio.
  • 1978: The Guild organized a fundraiser to help the Geauga County YMCA build a permanent home.
  • 1987: The GLTG was in their 12th year of participation in Chardon, Ohio’s MapleFest, performing a melodrama for the crowd.
  • 1990: The Guild now produces two major shows a year, melodramas at the Chardon Maple Festival and Burton Apple Butter Festival, and 10-12 shows on the road.
  • 1997: Geauga Lyric Theater Guild moved into the historic Geauga Cinema, owned by the city of Chardon, which seats 300.
  • 1998: The first musical in the GLTG’s new venue, Godspell, is performed. An education program is begun with a summer workshop offering of Twelve Dancing Princesses.
  • 1999-2003: The theater undergoes a major renovation, keeping its historic art deco identity, which includes “new” seats from the former Front Row Theater. Two rolled original art pastel murals were found, restored and hung. Much work was completed in 2003 with $45, 000 and within 45 days by GLTG volunteers.
  • 2001: Painted murals of the tragedy and comedy masks were placed on the outside of the theater building. Theater education grew with year round programming and additional summer workshops.

Fun Facts

  • Total GLTG shows produced from 1954-2009: 229
  • First GLTG show produced in the Geauga Theater: Godspell in 1998
  • Most challenging GLTG production moment: Deer coming on stage during an outdoor performance!
  • Worst Chardon snow moment: The Big Blizzard of 1962 when the cast of Of Thee I Sing came out from rehearsal to find their cars buried and roads impassable.
  • Most famous guest to be invited to a GLTG show: President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who received an invitation in 1960 to The Red Mill, which was Ike’s favorite musical. A letter from the White House regretted that the President would not be in Ohio at that time but noted he appreciated the invitation.